London – The EEF, the UK’s manufacturers’ organisation, has told a crunch meeting between business groups and the British business secretary that the work to shore up confidence and secure the industrial future is a priority following the Brexit vote.
At the meeting on 28 June, the EEF sought early assurances about the government’s commitment to securing access to the single market and protecting the UK’s trading relationships.
It also called on the government to send a clear ‘business as usual’ message to Europe and the rest of the world.
According to the EEF, there are three headline priorities:
* Maintaining tariff free access to the EU market for goods and services
* Ensuring regulatory stability
* Continuing to address the UK skills gap.
At the same time, the EEF urged ministers to avoid allowing business and the UK to fall into limbo by getting on with important investment decisions, such as expanding airport capacity.
Commenting ahead of the meeting, EEF chief executive Terry Scuoler, said: “The UK government has a major task ahead of it in supporting growth in the economy and managing the process of securing a new relationship with the EU.
“In the immediate aftermath of the vote, it must continue to tread carefully by not triggering Article 50 immediately, reassuring the markets and seeking to shore up business confidence.
“The next step is clearly for close engagement with business groups and other stakeholders to ensure that emerging signs of manufacturing recovery do not falter in the coming months and to deliver broad agreement on a clear vision for a new relationship between the UK and the EU.”
According to the EEF, manufacturers will need to see a re-invigorated industrial strategy to anchor large, mobile investors and to support investment and growth in domestic supply chains.
Policies that could support this aim include reinforcing the tax system for capital investment and higher levels of support for research and development through Innovate UK.